Allison House, a Broken Hill institution, helps remote-living families keep teenagers at the town’s 2 public high schools. 

Story + Photo Ken Eastwood  

For 60 years, children who live on remote stations or in tiny settlements in far western NSW or over the border in SA have been able to board at Allison House in Broken Hill, so they can attend the 2 local public schools. The not-for-profit facility has live-in house parents and caters for up to 20 high school children, who currently pay just $2750 a term for full board. 

Secretary and treasurer of Allison House, Lynn Pritchard, says the house is run like a “big family” for the boarders. “It’s a home away from home. We’re not as regimented as others are,” she says. “For example, we used to have a specific study time, but these days everything is ruled by mum on the end of a mobile phone.

“Boarders come from remote properties or in small towns like Milparinka, and they want to continue their high school years in face-to-face schooling rather than distance education or going to boarding schools. Boarding school isn’t for everyone.”

Hardworking house mum Penni Sullivan and her husband Daniel drop the students off at school each day in a bus and pick them up, then ensure they get to sports training or their after-school jobs. “And they’ll take the kids up to the hospital if required if there’s a lump or a bump, or take them to appointments during the week,” Lynn says. 

This story excerpt is from Issue #152

Outback Magazine: Dec/Jan 2024